Sar­ifa finds a new home

Jamaica Gleaner - - SOCIAL | SOMETHING EXTRA - Daviot Kelly Staff Re­porter daviot.kelly@glean­erjm.com

SAR­IFA IN­SURANCE Bro­kers has a new home. The two-year old com­pany has moved its op­er­a­tions from Brae­mar Av­enue to Phoenix Av­enue. Pres­i­dent and CEO of Sar­ifa Christo­pher Blythe said he started look­ing for a new space in April. They moved out in July but had to use a tem­po­rary res­i­dence on Ruthven Road as the fin­ish­ing touches were added. But it has been worth the wait.

“The new lo­ca­tion was an open plan, al­low­ing us to cus­tomise the area how we wanted,” said Blythe, opin­ing the lo­ca­tion has nu­mer­ous ben­e­fits. “You have a lot of traf­fic. You have three restau­rants here ... so there is a lot of foot traf­fic, and it’s pretty cen­tral as well.” Makeda Solomon, ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor and chief mar­ket­ing of­fi­cer, chimes in.

“And then there is the am­bi­ence. Com­ing in, you see the aes­thet­ics all around you, from you park your car. There’s green­ery and fo­liage, wa­ter­falls, it’s a very nice and peace­ful en­vi­ron­ment as well,” she said. The new of­fice is 1,810 square feet, the same size as their orig­i­nal of­fice.

“From cus­tomers have been com­ing in, they re­ally en­joy the new lo­ca­tion, the am­bi­ence, the set­ting. Even though the space is the same size, ev­ery­body thinks it’s a much big­ger space be­cause of how the lay­out is con­fig­ured,” said Blythe. “So just the whole flow of the new place, I think, is good for the em­ploy­ees as well as the cus­tomers.” But apart from the phys­i­cal move, Sar­ifa has been see­ing pos­i­tive move­ments over­all. The com­pany’s on­line plat­form has taken off since be­ing launched last year.

DOU­BLE THE REV­ENUE

“We just got two ad­di­tional in­sur­ers, so our cus­tomers now have more com­pa­nies on­line to get quotes from, which is very crit­i­cal for us,” he said. “Based on last year com­pared to this year, we’re look­ing to dou­ble the rev­enue we made. And now that we’re go­ing to start push­ing the on­line plat­form more, we hope to get an uptick in cus­tomers as well.” Blythe re­it­er­ated Sar­ifa has al­ways pushed con­ve­nience for cus­tomers via tech­nol­ogy.

“That’s how we view Sar­ifa. We’re a tech­nol­ogy com­pany as op­posed to just a typ­i­cal in­surance bro­ker,” he said. “We started off with mo­tor in­surance on­line, but the whole goal is to al­low cus­tomers to pur­chase all per­son­alised in­surance on­line.” Sar­ifa has also won the top award from the Ja­maica Cus­tomer Ser­vice As­so­ci­a­tion (JaCSA) for two con­sec­u­tive years, even be­ing named a cus­tomer ser­vice am­bas­sador for JaCSA dur­ing Cus­tomer Ser­vice Week from Oc­to­ber 2 to 8. And ear­lier this year, Sar­ifa took the young en­trepreneur award at the Ja­maica Cham­ber of Com­merce busi­ness awards.

“This was specif­i­cally be­cause of our tech­nol­ogy, be­cause it’s some­thing new that we’re bring­ing to the mar­ket. We’re the first bro­ker in Ja­maica to have cus­tomers com­pare quotes on­line,” said Blythe. “It’s a very hum­bling feel­ing. I wasn’t an­tic­i­pat­ing the awards, es­pe­cially as we just started and we haven’t re­ally got into our groove.” Solomon said the awards show they are on the right track.

“It shows us that the vi­sion from the out­set has ma­te­ri­alised. And not only that, it is be­ing recog­nised as some­thing fresh, new and vi­brant that stands out from the rest of the mar­ket, which is im­por­tant to us.”

GLAD­STONE TAY­LOR/ PHO­TOG­RA­PHER

Come on in, we’re open! Christo­pher Blythe, pres­i­dent and CEO of Sar­ifa In­surance Bro­kers, and Makeda Solomon, ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor and chief mar­ket­ing of­fi­cer, wel­come clients to their new of­fices.

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